DoubleLine launches stock management division

NEW YORK Wed Jan 2, 2013 11:11am EST

NEW YORK Jan 2 (Reuters) - DoubleLine Capital LP, the $53 billion firm run by star bond investor Jeffrey Gundlach, said on Wednesday that it is now managing stock portfolios in a new division called DoubleLine Equity LP.

The firm, which surpassed $50 billion in bond assets last year after launching in 2009, said in a news release that it has tapped former TCW Group portfolio managers Brendt Stallings and Husam Nazer to expand its stock division.

Gundlach, DoubleLine's chief executive officer and chief investment officer, hinted at the firm's move into stocks in a webcast on Sept. 11, citing the broad disinterest in equities and their potential as a hedge against inflation.

The firm's flagship DoubleLine Total Return Bond Fund earned a return of 9.2 percent in 2012, beating 97 percent of other U.S. mortgage-focused funds, according to Lipper. The fund, which oversees $37.1 billion, took in $19.7 billion last year, making it the most popular mutual fund by asset growth.

Pacific Investment Management Co., the world's largest bond fund manager with $1.92 trillion in assets as of September 30, 2012, began moving into equities when it launched its first actively managed stock mutual fund in 2010.

Stallings and Nazer were previously Group Managing Directors at TCW Group Inc., the highest title for managers at the firm, where they oversaw $5 billion in assets in stock portfolios.

Gundlach started DoubleLine in December of 2009 shortly after being fired as chief investment officer of TCW. TCW sued Gundlach after firing him, claiming that he stole trade secrets and violated his fiduciary duty to the firm. Gundlach responded with a countersuit and won $66.7 million in wages from TCW.

Private equity firm Carlyle Group struck a deal last August to buy a 60 percent stake in TCW from French bank Societe Generale. TCW management and employees will own the remaining 40 percent stake in the Los Angeles-based bond fund manager, which has $135 billion in assets.

DoubleLine, which is also based in Los Angeles, employs more than 80 people. Stallings and Nazer plan to hire at least five investment professionals this year, the release said.